Social wealth is the total value of the resources that you have to meet your social or emotional needs. Social connection is the currency of social wealth.
Social connections can be defined as people you frequently interact with whether it is face to face, on the phone, internet, etc. This would include family members, relatives, coworkers, friends, etc. Each connection has a different value to you. So, each contributes differently in your assessment of your total social wealth. For example, stronger connections like a close family members or close friends contribute more than distant friends. Time also plays a role, so those with whom you interact a lot contribute more than those with whom you interact less.
The other aspect of social connections is that they can be positive or negative. You can love interacting with some people, while hate interacting with others. The people that you dislike to interact with, but have to for one reason or another, actually are like a social debt and subtract from you total social wealth. Net social wealth is the total of all of the positive connections subtracted by the total of the negative connections.
Social wealth is used to fulfill emotional necessities such as security, belonging, connectedness, etc. Being part of the larger group through social connections allows us to feel much larger than our individual selves. Since we are a social specie, some of our biological systems have evolved to make us maintain social connectedness. The satisfaction of these systems give us a sense of emotional well being.
Social wealth is mainly used to provide two things:
- Meet the ongoing emotional necessities. Daily interactions with people provide this. If you mostly interact with people that are of value to you and feel positively about most of them, then overall you will feel emotionally well.
- Provide confidence in the ability to meet emotional needs into the future. The more social wealth you have, the more secure you feel about meeting your emotional needs in the future and in times of emotional distress. This allow you to live confidently and improves your quality of life.
A reasonable amount of social wealth is what is able to comfortably provide the above two things.
Please use the Social Wealth Calculator for a somewhat quantitative assessment of social wealth.
Also, how does this view of social wealth compare with your own? Please leave comments below.